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dir Jason Moore
scr Kay Cannon
prd Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman
with Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Benjamin Hickey, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
release US 28.Sep.12, UK 21.Dec.12
It's a riff-off! Kendrick and the Bellas
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It may look like Glee meets Mean Girls, but this comedy is so - ahem - perfectly pitched that it never puts a foot wrong. A razor-sharp script and expertly timed performances keep us laughing all the way through. And the music is relentlessly infectious.
Mash-up mixer wannabe Beca (Kendrick) reluctantly goes to university to keep her dad (Hickey) off her back. She gets a job on the school radio station with fellow music geek Jesse (Astin), and both join competitive a cappella singing groups. Beca is in the Bellas, led by control freak Aubrey (Camp), who's more than a little upset that this year's group includes atypical members like self-named Fat Amy (Wilson) and sassy Cynthia Rose (Dean). Meanwhile, Jesse joins the champion Treblemakers, led by Bumper (DeVine), who seems to believe his own myth.
Cannon's script is a marvel of quick-witted one-liners and sophisticated gags. And the laughs don't run dry when the plot kicks into gear: this film is gut-wrenchingly hilarious from start to finish, with more throwaway gems than it's possible to catch and several classic sequences that get funnier and funnier as they go. Perhaps most memorable are Banks and Higgins as competition commentators gushing hysterical jokes like they're in a Christopher Guest movie.
Meanwhile, the plot progresses rather obviously to a championship showdown, as the parallel romantic-comedy storyline has Beca and Jesse get off to a bickering start then running afoul of Aubrey's primary rule that Bellas can't date Troublemakers. Both of these threads are deeply predictable, and yet we enjoy every moment thanks to a surprisingly layered central performance from Kendrick and superbly strong cast of colourful characters around her, each of whom takes his or her own journey.
Of course, it's not about who wins: it's about the fun of getting there. And along with some startlingly resonant themes, we get an amusing tour of the a cappella subculture, including a terrific riff-off that we could watch all night. There's also a mixture of cool songs with cheesy hits leading up to a blindingly brilliant climactic number that has our heads spinning. And if someone want to make a film even more shamelessly uproarious, they can never go wrong with a bit of projectile vomiting.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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